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To put it simply, your business success depends almost entirely on your marketing.

You could be offering the most fantastic products, but if nobody knows about them, you won’t be hitting your sales targets, will you?

Getting really creative with your marketing is what will make you, your products, and your services stand out from the competition (which is what we all want, right?)

We’re lucky that the internet opens up a world of possibilities. With all the software, systems, and social platforms out there, there are seemingly endless ways to raise your business’s profile.

But with all of those options, how do you get started?

Market your business online

Embrace video

Creating short videos is a fantastic way to build stronger connections with your target audience.

Seeing your face, or hearing your voice, establishes a more personal bond.

Video has never been more simple with all of the live-streaming platforms out there. Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook Live can all get you visible on the fly, but I’m partial to Blab.

The difference with Blab is that you can schedule your sessions in advance and promote it to your heart’s content. If you really want to maximize your results, create a unique landing page for your chat, where you can capture email addresses for your email list.

Be helpful anywhere and everywhere

Take advantage of the community aspect of the internet and add value wherever you can.

Monitor Twitter for questions you can answer using a free tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Bonus points if you can answer that question with a blog post from your archives.

Join Facebook groups where your ideal customers hang out, and answer any niche questions they might have.

Dip into Reddit forums to leave helpful comments – but make sure to only answer questions in your area of expertise.

Reinforce what you want to be known for.

Make all content visual content

The most shareable content relies heavily on the visuals.

Why is it important that your content be easy to share?

Because the more it’s shared by others, the more new eyes it will reach. Adding nicely designed, on-brand graphics to your website and social streams is a really simple way to get others to market your business for you.

Prime your inbox

There are a couple of really subtle ways to market your business without even leaving your emails.

Create an email signature linking to your website and social media accounts. Wisestamp is a nifty free tool to help you out with this.

Activate your auto-responder; not only does this establish boundaries with your clients, it provides you with additional space to promote your site, your latest blog posts, or your upcoming products.

Write list posts

Writing list posts for your blog is a really quick and simple way to create content – all you really need to do is collect a series of helpful links and add some commentary. Readers LOVE that kind of thing. They’re easy to digest, while still offering a lot value.

Once you’ve hit publish, make a list of everyone you’ve featured in your post and tweet them a link. Nine times out of ten, they’ll share that link with their own followers.

Take your marketing offline

So you see, getting creative with your online marketing can be effortless, fun and free. But that’s not to say it should be your sole focus.

Offline marketing can be even more effective if done right (without so much as a sniff of a stuffy networking event).

Leave your calling card

Order yourself a nice batch of business cards, and always keep a few to hand.

Make a point of leaving one everywhere you go – from a table at a restaurant, to the checkout in your favourite store… you never know where your next big prospect could be hanging out.

Be a sponsor

Sponsorships can be a pretty pricey way to raise your profile, so really think about this. Investigate niche awards ceremonies that focus on your target audience, not your peers.

If you manage to find that sweet spot between cost and relevance, you could do wonders for your brand.

Write a column

Note down a list of local publications that would interest those you’re trying to reach, and pitch the idea. As a local business-person, you’re uniquely qualified to offer your perspective on industry issues and events.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Speak (in person)

Public speaking is the offline version of video marketing. It creates a way for you to personally connect with others and share your expertise.

Research local groups, venues and events that could benefit from your knowledge and experience. Then, if you manage to secure a speaking slot, make sure you take along those business cards, and pop your Twitter handle on any presentations you create.

Host an offline event

Hold an event offline and create a buzz. Remember, you can go really small (it’s easier to fill a living room than a stadium!), and get creative on what you could offer. Think about mini demo sessions, an in-person Q&A with discounts available, or a behind the scenes tour.

Don’t forget to cherish the clients you have

Referrals can be one of the most powerful ways to get new business, as they come with a hit of social proof.

How can you get more client referrals?

It goes without saying that you should treat your clients really well – the experience of working with you, or buying from you, should feel special. Perhaps you could send them a thank you card or a handwritten note, just to show how much you appreciate working with them.

You could also offer a referral incentive. You could offer a discount or voucher for every person they refer you to. Or maybe you could offer them a valuable freebie, or piece of exclusive content. Get creative with it!

Whether you prefer marketing your business online or off, a creative approach is what will help you stand out.

Don’t just do what others do. Mix up your techniques, test them out, and make them your own.
What’s your favorite way to market your business?

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About the author

Jo Gifford

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.